Here lies the latest idea...
"What is the point?" The apprentice asked histeacher.
"The point of what," the tired old mage replied, seeming exasperated at the thought of having to answer another stpuid quesion.
His student however knew that this was an act, his master had drilled into him the belief that every question must be asked. If he were to not ask, his teacher would punish him severly. The apprentice pressed on. "The duty of a mage is to ease suffering, to bring peace, solace, and justie."
"Are we going to sit here discussing the mage's oath all day, or does this have a point?"
The student ignored that comment. "Yet, in all the generations, centuries, and millenia, mage's hae never turned back the Darkness more than slightly. Each day, each instant, our world gets dimmer. weaker, and more ill. What is the point to all this power if it doesn't ever accomploish anything?"
The master mage stroked his beard, looking thoughtful. After a moment, he spoke softly. "There isn't one."
The student looked at him aghast. The implications of this roiled in his mind, and all he could stammer out was "What?" His master gave no sign that he was teasing, or spinning out a parable. In his many years with the master mage, he had learned to read the man.
"I said that there is no point to our magery. There is no point to fihting back the darkness, for it will always. eventually, win. The Darkness has more guile, more patience, and is willing to do anything to get its way. It has no power struture, no order, and because of that, it cannot be hunted, cannot be cut down at the roots. There is nothing to hunt, there are no roots, only shadows. You may shine a light into the shadows, and they will vanish, but when the ligh fades, the shadows return justs as strongly."
The pupil looked at his master, looking desperately for some sign of something he was missing. "How can you say this? You have devovted your life to the Art! You hae devoted all of your teaching to me so that I may continue the Art, so that we may prevail, and the Darkness can be purged eternally!"
The master mage simply nodded.
The student's face grew red with anger. "Why! Why do you tell me these things! Why did you take me in as an orphan and raise me? Why have you spent so much time teahing me, caring for me... when it is all for naught! If the Dark wins what point does it make if we fight back?" Tears brimmed in his eyes, and betrayal ache in his heart.
"I tell you these things because I cannot lie- it would corrupt my Art. I do all of those things simply because it does not matter."
The student, slightly calmer, siped away some tears and snuffled his nose. his vooie however, still cracked. "I don't understand."
"You say it does not matter if we do nothing, since it is all futile. Why then should it matter if we do something, sine that too will not matter." The master mage did not look at his pupil. Instead, his eyes were tra nsfixed on the sun setting in the ocean."If you do not like this arrangement, then you are free to leave. It does niether of us any good to contiue your training if you do no have your heart in it. Magery in an unwilling heart is the Art of death, not life."
The student stood there, in turmoil. He loved the master mage as a father. The master mage was his father in any meaningful sense. But why should he spend his life in training to fight a hopeless battle? He had already sacrificed his childhood to fight this fight. He had never been able to form close friendships, or played a game that was not teaching him something. He had never, in his twenty years, been able to even carry on more than the most practical, businesslike conversations with women.
And it was all empty! That was the bitch of it all! Twenty years that may haev just as well been spent as a corpse for all the good it would do the world!
"So then, this is all true. No matter what I do, the final outcome is the same."
The master mage still could not meet the eyes of his pupil. Instead he simply nodded, the wind blowing a hank of his hair across his face, obscuring it from view.
The student of Alric, the master mage, spat upon the ground at his feet. "Then I shall leae this place. I renounce this battle you old fool, and I renounce you. If this is all so empty, why not have left me on the shore where you found me!"
Alric remained silent. Gravel scattered as his student turned on his heel, and returned to the small wood frame house on the beach where Alric had lived for fourty years. Alric continued staring across the ocean, his long grey hair covering his face. He did not react to the slamming doors. He did not look back when he heard the tarp rustle, or when the engine of his student's prized Yamaha Valkyrie roared to life. He remembered how insistant his student was that that particular conveyance was best suited for following the small, poorly paved road back to town for groceries.
Alric had allowed it, not because it was needed, but because he liked the sound, and the smell of grease.
And Alric dod not look back when he heard the bike tear off down he road, the engine screaming defiance.
His student did not look back either.
Carrie Briston swalllowed hard, setting aside her cacramel flavored cappachino with a shaky hand. The coffee shop was crowded, both with the requisite knick knacs and with the requsite trendy bohemian crowd. There were alot more people than she had expected, their faces were either boisterous, or turned in a dour facade of world weariness.
She took a few deep breaths, scanning the crowd, looking for an anchor, someone that was "safe" looking enough to help her ignore the crowd. After a moment she found this tiny sprite like girl sitting in the front, holding some guy's hand, and her wrists were coated with rainbow braclets. The only way to descibe her was as cute. And safe.
So Carrie introduced herself and launched into her act. She specialized in what she called "Lesrock". All of those butch girl bands that did folky stuff. Not so much because the band members were perdominatly lesbian, but becacuse the fan base was.
Meanwhile, I met Cate's exhusband and her brother this weekend. That was joyous. Avery is a wonderful anachronism, this gothy beatnik. Her brother Liam is a skinheaded punk that when you mix the two of us you get two six year olds that almost broke stuff in two different coffee houses in the same night.
This weekend Sarah and Dennis aren't going to be around, so that should make for an interesting weekend. Cate has a lead on some Ecstacy, so that also could be fun. We'll see what happens.
Meanwhile, I think I'm going to start producing some "Perils of Free Thought" pamphlets and start handing them out. Gotta put a kabash on all these people that think they can just have ideas or do anything different. Yes, that's mean in a semblance of jest.